Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Illinois adopts lead labeling requirements

Today Illinois Senate Bill 2860 was signed into law. PA 95-1019 will require warning labels on children's jewelry or painted toys (both for children up to age 12) or child care products designed or intended for use by the manufacturer to facilitate the feeding, relaxation or sleeping of children under six IF the product contains more than 40 parts per million (ppm) of lead.


Cribs with lead paint recalled, after sickening a child

Munire Funiture, Inc. of New Jersey has recalled 3,000 cribs and 6,000 matching furniture pieces after a child was diagnosed with lead poisoning. The "Newport Rubbed Black" furniture has toxic red paint under the covering black paint.

If you have this product, stop using it immediately and contact Munire for a coupon for replacement furniture. We would also recommend that anyone with this furniture have their children tested for lead immediately and report the results to CPSC. Contact KID for more information.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lawsuit filed against Disney for deadly bassinet

A family whose baby was strangled by a defective bassinet manufactured by Simplicity for Children, but carrying the licensed Disney Winnie-the-Pooh brand, has filed suit in California against Disney, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune by Patricia Callahan.

The issue of licensing and safety is an important one for consumer advocates. Parents often buy a product based on the licensed name they recognize, rather than the less well known manufacturer. Danny Keysar, whose parents founded Kids In Danger, was killed in a Playskool Travel-Lite portable crib. Playskool is a Hasbro company name, but it was actually manufactured by Kolcraft. In the lawsuit filed by Danny's parents, both companies were named.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Target and CPSC announce Kiosk based recall information in stores

CPSC and Target announced a new notification system for product recall information in Target stores nationwide. Signs throughout the store will direct consumers to the kiosk in the guest services area where they will be able to search for recalls as well as print out the notices. The kiosks are currently used for gift registry programs.

Target will continue to post safety and recall information at Target.com, provide links to the CPSC and related Web sites, and send e-mails to guests who have purchased recalled products online. In addition, they announced a new process for eligible Target REDcard account holders, which provides recorded phone messages for consumers who purchase an item that has been recalled.

It is not clear that this new system will meet the requirements of local and state laws, such as Illinois' Children's Product Safety Act that require posting the recall notices in retail outlets.

CPSC used the opportunity to remind consumers that they can easily sign up for email notification of recalls at www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.

Evenflo high chairs recalled after more than 1000 failure reports

Evenflo and CPSC are announcing the recall of 95,000 Majestic High Chairs because hardware failure (loose screws and plastic caps fall out) leads to falls and choking hazards. After almost 100 injuries and 1000 reports of the screws falling out, the company is now offering a repair kit. If you have this chair, in addition to requesting and using the repair kit, report to CPSC if you have also had the problem with loose screws.

Monday, December 15, 2008

When shopping, probably best to avoid metal jewelry

Over the past few years millions of rings, necklaces and other jewelry have been recalled because of lead content or paint. Yet a recent study by the Center for Environmental Health finds that much of that still on the shelves is still tainted with lead.

New regulations to limit lead content in children's products, including jewelry, goes into effect in February. At that time, manufacturers will have to certify that the product has been tested by an independent third party laboratory and is free of lead (or under 600ppm at least).

But in the meantime, as the CEH study shows, it is likely that jewelry currently for sale may still contain lead. Perhaps books would make a better gift this holiday season....

Mattel settles case with 39 state AG's on lead in toys

A settlement was announced today between Mattel and its subsidiary Fisher Price and 39 state attorneys general on toys tainted with lead. Mattel will pay the states $12 million, reduce the lead paint in their products immediately to the federal level of 90 ppm that will be effective next August and spend additional funds on lead testing and notification of consumers. California had reached an agreement with Mattel and other manufacturers earlier this month.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

University of Michigan students design safer crib

Students at the University of Michigan joined together in Project Safe Crib to look at design ideas to eliminate some of the hazards that have led to millions of cribs being pulled from the market due to defects, injuries and deaths. The team developed a prototype (painted of course in proud Michigan colors) that can only be assembled one way and with virtually no hardware, even though it still has a dropside. The dropside can even store under the mattress creating a daybed or changing table mode.

If you are interested in learning more, contact us at KID. The project is part of KID's Teach Early Safety Testing (TEST) program to integrate design safety into undergraduate engineering programs. This is the sixth year KID has worked with a team from UM.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recent Safety Resources

  • KID joined Illinois PIRG in the release of its 23rd annual toy safety report, Trouble In Toyland.The report educates consumers about the new federal safety legislation and highlights the year's most pressing hazards including lead, choking and phthalates.
  • For crib recall information and safe sleep tips, check out the Illinois Attorney General's Rest Assured Guide.
  • The IL AG has also released Play It Safe, a 2008 recall guide.
  • Consumers Union has released Still Not Safe, a report on recalls issued during the CPSC 2008 fiscal year.
  • Healthytoys.org just released their results from testing toys for toxic chemicals. Check out their findings here.
  • CPSC has a holiday toy safety poster for child care or health care facilities to post for parents.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CPSC has posted request for input on crib standard

While saying that it is not officially starting the process on a new crib standard as required by the recently passed CPSIA, CPSC did post an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on a possible mandatory regulation. Comments are due by January 26, 2009. This ANPR and request for comments focuses mostly on dropside failures including design and hardware issues.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Illinois Senate passes lead labeling law!

SB 2860 (Hunter), which amends the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, passed the Illinois Senate unanimously today.

This legislation will protect Illinois’ children from lead by requiring that manufacturers include lead warning statements for painted toys, jewelry and children’s products intended to facilitate the feeding, sleeping or relaxation of children under six that that contain excess levels of lead.

Products with lead higher than the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested level of 40 parts per million (ppm) will be required to carry the warning label. The new federal law being implemented now requires lead levels of 90ppm for painted products (by August 09) and 600 ppm for jewelry and other children's products by February 09 (the level continues to drop to a possible 100ppm in 2011).

SB 2860 allows parents to avoid products with any detectable lead, even if it is below the federal limit.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Illinois Senate to consider lead labeling bill

SB 2860 (Hunter), which amends the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, will be voted on by the Illinois Senate as early as Wednesday, November 19.

This legislation would better protect Illinois’ children from lead by requiring that manufacturers include lead warning statements for painted toys, jewelry and children’s products intended to facilitate the feeding, sleeping or relaxation of children under six that that contain excess levels of lead.

The bill requires the warning when the amount of lead is higher than the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested highest level of 40 parts per million (ppm) but lower than the level allowed under the new federal law (currently 600 ppm, but drops to a low of 90 ppm).

SB 2860 allows parents to avoid products with any detectable lead, even if it is below the federal limit.

Contact your Senator and urge him/her to vote Yes on SB 2860!

Click here to find your elected representatives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CPSC releases 2007 toy injury data

CPSC released their annual report on toy injuries and deaths today -- for 2007. The report shows 18 deaths from toys last year and 170,100 injuries to children under 15. The deaths were caused by drowning (six deaths - four from tricycles or other vehicles that fell into pools, one from an inflatable toy on a lake and one from a child falling in a pool after playing near it with a toy boat); choking or other airway obstruction (eight deaths -- four from choking on small balls, two from balloons, one suffocation on a stuffed toy and one aspiration of a rubber dart tip); and riding toys (two deaths involving non-motorized scooter collisions with cars, one tricycle collision with a car and one fall from a tricycle).

Many of the injuries involved riding toys and 84% of those involved non motorized scooters.

CPSC also released a statement giving toy purchasing advice to parents before the upcoming holiday season. They warn parents to check their products for recalled items and other safety issues. The new law requiring certification of safety testing for toys won't be in effect until next holiday season.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Illinois AG Madigan files suit against SFCA for selling deadly bassinets, publishes safety guide for parents on sleep environment recalls

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has again stepped up to the plate to protect Illinois consumers from dangerous children's products. This week her office filed a lawsuit against SFCA, the company that bought Simplicity for Children's assets. The lawsuit calls on SFCA to recall all faulty bassinets, reimburse retailers who have refunded consumers for the bassinets, publicize the recalls and institute a complete safety review of all Simplicity products still on the market.

Since 2005, Simplicity has recalled over 2.6 million cribs and bassinets for flaws that have led to at least six deaths. Most of those cribs and bassinets remain unaccounted for. The staff of Attorney General Madigan have been combing Craigslist for months, along with other online sites, for the recalled products and helping consumers participate in the recalls. Now, they have published Rest Assured, a guide to recent sleep environment recalls. This vital document should be placed in every pediatrician's waiting room, at child care facilities, hospitals and any other place new parents might see it.

KID joined with the AG's office at the press conference announcing the lawsuit and Rest Assured. In addition, we strongly support Attorney General Madigan's call for refunds as the only remedy in products that have already caused a death.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Delta recalls for repair over 1.5 million cribs; CPSC announced proposed rulemaking for crib durability

Delta Enterprise announced recalls of two cribs involved in infant deaths. 985,000 dropside cribs with safety pegs that may fall out or become missing and 600,000 cribs in which the spring peg may malfunction are involved. Delta and CPSC are aware of 2 deaths, 3 other infant entrapments and 10 incidents in which the side rail detached. Consumers are urged to stop using the spring peg cribs immediately until they can receive the repair kit and to examine the cribs with safety pegs carefully and stop using if the safety peg is missing. More details are at CPSC and the company's website.

In addition to the recall, CPSC has posted a press release alerting parents to general problems with drop side cribs and announcing a proposed rulemaking to strengthen performance standards for cribs. New proposals to more vigorously test cribs for durability have languished in the voluntary standard setting process. With the additional recalls announced today, CPSC has recalled over 3.5 million cribs since last September.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Infant death leads to recall of convertible crib

CPSC has recalled 2,000 convertible cribs by Playkids, U.S.A. The crib sides are mesh, allowing the baby to get entrapped between the mattress and side. A 5-month-old died in Brooklyn in August. The cribs were sold primarily in New York. Consumers should immediately stop using the product and contact Playkids for a refund.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Safety group warns against certain car seat boosters

As more and more states require car seats and boosters for older and larger children, the number of booster seats on the market has risen. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently tested 41 booster seats and found 13 of them wanting when it came to correctly positioning the safety belt on the child. Given that the seat belt is what is keeping the child safe and that incorrect positioning can lead to severe injuries, the results of this report should be taken seriously.

"We evaluated the safety belt fit boosters provide, not crash protection," says Institute president Adrian Lund in the press release. "This is because unlike child restraints, boosters don't restrain children in crashes. They simply position children so lap and shoulder belts are in the right place to restrain them."

"We'd expect the 10 best bets to improve belt fit for children in almost any car, minivan, or SUV," Lund says. "Likewise, it's clear that kids in the 13 boosters we don't recommend aren't getting the full benefit of improved lap belt fit. These boosters may increase restraint use by making children more comfortable, but they don't position belts for optimal protection."

For a list of the "not recommended", "best bet" and "good bet" seats, click here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Simplicity recall: will it ever end?

CPSC announced the recall today of another 600,000 Simplicity cribs with dropside problems -- the same ones they said were safe back when they recalled 1 million other Simplicity cribs. This on the heels of a recall of 900,000 Simplicity bassinets. Our advice -- do not use or buy any Simplicity products. The current company SFCA has refused to stand behind Simplicity labeled cribs and bassinets and we (and the CPSC) know of other incidents with Simplicity cribs that aren't on either of these recall lists. If you have a Simplicity crib on today's recall list, stop using it immediately and return it to the retailer for a refund or store credit. If you have a Simplicity crib not yet on a recall list, at the very least check it carefully for broken or loose hardware or problems with the wood in the drop sides or slats. Stop using it and report any problems with the cribs to CPSC.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dangerous Simplicity Bassinets sold under Graco and Winnie-the-Pooh brands as well

The recently 'recalled' Simplicity Bassinet was also sold under the Graco name from from 2001 - 2004 and Winnie-the-Pooh from 2002-2008. If you have a Graco bassinet that looks like this picture -- do not use it! Graco now has the information posted at its website, as does the CPSC. Read more.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CPSC provides link to CPSIA activity

CPSC has provided a single web entry page for all their documents and information on the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Here you can see the latest proposed rules, ask a question or read the law.

Friday, September 5, 2008

CPSC hosts all day meeting on CPSIA

Yesterday, the CPSC held an all day meeting with stakeholders to explain their plans for implementation of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. While the room was dominated by manufacturers and their lawyers, most major consumer organizations also attended to hear the presentation. CPSC has an ambitious schedule of rulemaking and deadlines for new requirements, some as early as next week. Many questions remain, including what the timeline for new standards for juvenile products will be and what manufacturers can do with current inventory that violates the new law. CPSC acknowledged that under their current plans, consumers will have no way to distinguish products certified as safe by the manufacturer and those that aren't. KID calls on the CPSC, retailers and manufacturers to address this problem so consumers aren't unaware of the safety risks of the products they are buying.

Got a question about the new law and how it affects children's safety? You can ask CPSC through a new form on their website.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Retailers agree to recall/refund Simplicity Bassinets

CPSC has gotten retailers to take the unusual step of recalling a product themselves. Because of Simplicity's new owner's refusal to recall this deadly product, the retailers stepped in. But it still might be for sale at other locations. If you see any of the models referenced in the CPSC alert for sale anywhere, please report it to CPSC. The alert has detailed pictures to show the affected models versus the newer ones that have been fixed. But both may still be for sale, so just because you bought it recently doesn't mean it is safe. Read this Tribune article for some of the background on this troubled company.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

UPDATE: CPSC warns against Simplicity Bassinets

Following the news this week of another death in a Simplicity Bassinet, CPSC has issued a warning urging parents and caregivers to stop using the bassinet involved. This warning is in lieu of a recall because CPSC can't get the company that now owns Simplicity to agree to a recall -- another sign of the weakness of the agency that hopefully will be remedied with the new legislation. CPSC did get six retailers to agree to recall the product, so if you bought it from one of these stores, you can return it for a refund. Please, send the CPSC warning out to anyone who might be using this product.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another death in a Simplicity Bassinet

New reports have come to light of another death in a Simplicity bassinet. Last September, a four month old strangled in a Simplicity 4 in 1 bassinet when she slipped through the bars on the side of the bassinet that are covered only with fabric. Now it appears a seven month old has died in the same way. KID would recommend that anyone with this product stop using it. CPSC has known about the first death for almost a year and yet has not taken any action -- and now there is another death. For more on bassinet safety, go to our website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School Safety

The end of August marks a time of year when children across the United States begin school and settle into their academic routine. Parents, of course are simultaneously excited and stressed out over wrapping up summer activities, getting their children back into school-mode, and the annual back-to-school shopping trip. Back to school essentials generally consist of warmer clothes for the kids, school utensils, a new lunch box, and a backpack. When shopping for these items, KID urges parents to consider the product and their child’s safety.

  • Clothing - Warmer children’s clothing such as jackets, sweaters, and sportswear often have drawstrings that can catch onto play equipment or doors, and children can be subsequently strangled. This month alone, three children’s clothing items – Bongo Cheetah Girls Jackets, Request Jean Drawstring Hoodies, and Raw Blue Hood Sweatshirts, have been recalled due to drawstrings that pose a strangulation hazard.
  • Lunch Box - Excessive levels of lead paint have lead to the recall of several children’s products. Unfortunately, lead has also been found in some lunchboxes, especially those made with vinyl material. When shopping for a lunch box for your child look for those made from non-PVC materials to avoid risks associated with excessive lead content.
  • Backpack - Unfortunately, homework isn’t the only pain in the neck for kids, so are children’s backpacks! To avoid back pain and injury for children, parents should invest in backpacks that have padded shoulder straps, reflective trim and a waist belt. Backpacks should be worn 2 inches above the waist and straps should be shortened so that they do not pose a fall or strangulation hazard. When loaded, backpacks should only be 10 to 20 percent of the children’s weight to ensure their safety and health.
  • School Supplies - The task of purchasing school supplies is usually simplified for parents as teachers send home of requests; however, parents should be mindful and careful when making these purchases for their child. School utensils should be age appropriate. Store and handle items with sharp edges, such as scissors, protractors, pens, and pencils carefully. Safe guard these items with protective cases.

    Other recalls:
    Coolibar Inc. Children’s Sunblock Jacket and Hoodies
    Vinyl Fast Forward Lunch Box
    Eddie Bauer Stainless Steel Lunch Bottle
    Care Bear Lunch Kit and Water Bottle
    Lands End Cool Blue Backpack
    Global Design “Cars” Backpack
    Discount School Supply Paint Brush
    Discount School Supply Two-Sided Easels

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't Let Summer Products Cloud Your Summer!

Summer can be a thrilling time of year for young children as they play outside and engage in different weather permitting activities. Unfortunately, summer excitement can be clouded if parents are unaware of the potential risks and dangers associated with some summer products.

Last week Kids in Danger (KID) released Summer Safety: Product injury patterns for children under six, a report that exposes the dangers that some summer products pose as well as recent recalls and summer safety tips. Through highlighting 2007 summer product –related injuries for children five years old and younger, the report points to a need for increased product safety and further awareness. Learn more here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

KID participates in live Webcast today

Live Web chat Monday-from the Chicago Sun Times:

Please join The Fixer at noon (CDT) today at as we chat with Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, a Chicago-based organization that has been on the front lines of legislation to make children's products safer.

You remember the scares last year about lead paint on toys and high-strength magnets that toddlers were swallowing? Consumer groups are hoping to finally give the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the teeth it needs to stop products like these from reaching our stores.

We'll also have a link afterward where people can view the rerun online.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

President signs CPSC reform bill

President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act this morning. This Act is the legacy of the countless children, including Danny Keysar - whose parents founded Kids In Danger - who have been killed or injured by unsafe children's products and toys. It is to honor their memories that KID will work to ensure the full implementation of the bill as quickly as possible. Here's more from the coalition of consumer groups.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Internet: Recirculation of Recalled Children’s Products

Selling and buying products online is becoming more common every year. Unfortunately, however, this convenient mode of shopping has created a new kind of market where previously recalled children’s products can reach consumers, thereby presenting a risk of injury to children.

Last year, many high profile toy manufacturers recalled millions of toys due the hazards they pose, however, some of these toys are still available via internet. Mega Brand, for example, recalled about 4 million of its Magnetix toys due to small magnets falling out and children swallowing them. The toys were responsible for 34 incidents, 4 injuries, and 1 death; yet, some of these recalled Magnetix toys are still being sold on EBay. Today you can find the Rose Art Magnetic X-treme Combo Set and Micro Set on EBay, which Mega Brand recalled over a year ago!

So how do such high profile recalls make it to the internet? Well, quiet easily. Many products are not marked as recalled or defective and unless a consumer knows about a recall, they have little way of knowing that the product they are selling or purchasing for their child is dangerous. Further, popular online auctions sites, like EBay, claim that they are not equipped to regulate the millions of new and used items for sale. While EBay does provide a tip sheet and links to a recall database, it does not have its own inventory for consumers. Moreover, the auction site has little legal liability for products sold on its site.

The presence of recalled children’s products on online auction sites is unacceptable and warrants a need for change. To reduce the resale of recalled children’s products parents need to check their desired purchase against recall lists, manufacturers need to obtain recalled products from homes so that they are not resold, and online auction sites need to investigate and post recalls while also requiring sellers to sell only non-recalled items. Combined, these efforts can reduce the recirculation of recalled products and work to keep children safe.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Playground Safety Report

The Center for Justice and Democracy recently released a new report targeting playground safety, Kids ‘N Safe Play: Regulation, Litigation and Playground Safety. The report examines how past playground-related incidents spurred the evolution of steel structures on asphalt to more creative and safe equipment placed on soft ground coverings. Their release emphasizes the message that although there has been progress towards children’s safety, recent high rates of playground-related injuries among children suggests a need for more to be done on the playground safety front. Such movement requires ignoring corporate groups that make false claims that new, safe playgrounds are “bad” and “boring”.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Babies"R"Us posts Jardine Crib recall info and hotline

Since the recall of the 320,000 Jardine cribs six weeks ago, Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us have relied on Jardine to interact with consumers on the recall process. But since the cribs were only sold through Babies"R"Us and can only be replaced by cribs from Babies"R"Us, consumers have looked to the chain to help them with the confusing process. From a Jardine hotline that drops callers repeatedly, to low inventory of replacement cribs in the stores, to confusion at the branch level of what the store policies are on online purchases and refunds on the vouchers; Jardine crib owners are growing frustrated. Now Babies"R"Us has posted the voucher policy on their website and announced a hotline (973-617-5000) for crib owners who need assistance.

In the meantime, please continue to spread the word of this recall to any parents or caregivers and if you have the crib, don't let your child sleep in it -- even if it means weeks in a portable crib or playyard. The cribs are unsafe. Again, recommendations for your baby's sleeping in the meantime:

  • If you can afford it, purchase a new crib online or at a Babies”R”Us store and get reimbursed when your voucher arrives.
  • For newborns and babies not yet pushing up or rolling over, they can stay in a bassinet
  • Older babies (close to 2) can be moved to the crib mattress on the floor of a childproofed nursery
  • Other babies can sleep in a portable crib or playpen. Make sure it hasn’t been recalled and meets current safety standards (JPMA seal). This means it was tested for use as a sleep environment.
  • Never put a baby to sleep on couches, chairs, strollers or water beds; or with another child or in a sleep environment with soft bedding.
  • If you need help to secure a safe sleeping product for your baby while you wait for your new crib, contact the CPSC public affairs department at 301-504-7908. They are working with nonprofits to supply safe portable cribs as needed.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Senate passes Consumer Protection Bill

Washington, D.C.—Today, consumer, public interest and scientific groups applaud the U.S. Senate for passing strong product safety reform legislation that would overhaul the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The bipartisan Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 will make consumer products safer by requiring that toys and infant products be tested before they are sold, and by banning lead and phthalates in toys. The bill also will create the first comprehensive publicly accessible consumer complaint database, give the CPSC the resources it needs to protect the public, increase civil penalties that CPSC can assess against violators of CPSC laws, and protect whistleblowers who report product safety defects.

The groups praised the Senate Conferees for their tireless work in reconciling the House and Senate versions of the CPSC reform bill: Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), Chairman Mark Pryor (D-AR) , Senator John Sununu (R-NH) , Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). The groups also thank Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) , and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for their critical work on this bill.

In approving this sweeping reform measure, the Senate put children’s and consumers’ safety first by enacting the most significant improvements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission since the agency was established in the 1970’s. The bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 30th by an overwhelming vote of 424-1. The President must sign this bill into law this week, before the August recess, the groups urged.

“My family and I are so honored that the portion of the bill that will protect children from unsafe infant and toddler products such as cribs is named for our son Danny,” stated Linda Ginzel, president of Kids In Danger. Ginzel and her husband Boaz Keysar founded the organization to protect children from unsafe children’s products after Danny’s death in 1998 in a recalled defective portable crib. The Danny Keysar Product Safety Notification Act, which is contained within the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008,would require mandatory standards and testing for specific infant and toddler products, ban the sale, lease or use in commercial settings of cribs that do not meet current safety standards, and would require manufacturers to include product registration cards with new products to facilitate notice of recalled products. “This, along with Kids In Danger, is Danny’s legacy,” added Ginzel.

“This bill represents the most significant improvements to product safety since Congress created the CPSC in the 1970’s. This reform is much needed, long overdue and necessary to ensure that CPSC can successfully ensure the safety of consumer products,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “We applaud the Senate for their strong vote in support of consumer safety today.”

“This week, Congress responded to the wishes of parents and children all across America and passed legislation that will help restore our confidence in the safety of our toys and everyday products,” said Ami Gadhia, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “This landmark, bi-partisan legislation will overhaul an agency that – as reported by Consumer Reports magazine - was unable to do its job for far too long. The President should now sign on the dotted line and turn this bill into law,” Gadhia added.

"This bill introduces critical reforms like ensuring that toys are tested for safety before they go on the market, banning certain hazardous substances, and creating an online database for consumers to share information about dangerous products with each other," said David Arkush, Director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "Consumers don't always come out on top in Congress, especially when big business fights hard, but this time consumers won big. Congress deserves applause."

“We applaud the Senate for acting to get toxic chemicals like lead and phthalates out of our children’s toys,” said U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate Elizabeth Hitchcock. “This bill is a huge victory for America's littlest consumers in the face of ExxonMobil and the chemical industry’s efforts to gut it. The conferees and their staff deserve tremendous credit for bringing it over the finish line.”

“Congress passed today the strongest consumer product safety bill in 30 years,” said Dr. Diana Zuckerman, President of the National Research Center for Women & Families. “Our children and grandchildren are the big winners because their toys will be safer.”

"This bill will enhance the scientific integrity of the CPSC, protect whistleblowers and improve consumer safety by making the agency more transparent and accountable," said Dr. Francesca T. Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists.

The House and Senate conferees on the product safety measure concluded action this weekend. The conference report on the legislation must now be approved by the President for his signature. Here are some examples of how this legislation changes and improves the safety of products sold in the United States:

Lead will be essentially eliminated from toys and children’s products.

• Consumers will have access to a publicly-accessible database to report and learn about hazards posed by unsafe products.

• Toys and other children’s products will be required to be tested for safety before they are sold.

• State Attorneys General will have the necessary authority to enforce product safety laws.

• CPSC has the authority to levy more significant civil penalties against violators of its safety regulations, which will help deter wrongdoing.

• Toxic phthalates will be been banned from children’s products.

• Whistleblowers will be granted important protections.

• CPSC will receive substantial increases in its resources – including its staffing levels, its laboratory and computer resources and its various authorities to conduct recalls and take other actions - going forward.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House passes CPSC Reform

The House passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act 424 to 1 today. Now it goes to the Senate and then the President for his signature. We are one step closer to establishing a child safety system that will keep our children safe from tainted toys and collapsing cribs. KID urges the Senate and the President to act swiftly to get these life-saving measures in place. Here is the press release from the stalwart group of consumer organizations that have been working on the landmark legislation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CPSC overhaul bill finalized, contains crucial consumer protections

The Conference Committee working on reconciling the House and Senate versions of a CPSC reform act have finalized their work and the final version contains many key consumer protections. It still needs to pass the House and Senate this week before the August recess.

The final bill, among other important provisions calls for:

  • More funding and staff for CPSC
  • A full commission at five members
  • A process to set mandatory standards for 12 infant and toddler products including cribs, strollers, high chairs and more
  • Integrating the voluntary ASTM F963 toy standard into mandatory standards
  • Required third party testing and certification for children's products
  • A ban on phthalates , chemicals which may cause cancer and damage reproductive organs
  • Enforcement provisions for state attorneys general -- putting 50 more cops on the child safety beat
  • protection for whistleblowers
  • a ban on lead in children's products
And the list goes on. For more, check out this article from the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune also carried this article about Danny Keysar whose parents founded Kids In Danger and have worked over 10 years for these safeguards.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dangers of All Terrain Vehicles: Recalls and Young Riders

As reported by CPSC, an estimated 850 people lose their lives in ATV-related incidents each year. One out of five deaths are to children younger than 16. In 2006, 39,300 children under 16 sustaineed serious injury. While many deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on adult ATVs, recent youth model ATV recalls highlight an urgency to consider the dangers associated with all ATVs. Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety for Consumer Federation of America adds, “The constant drumbeat of increases in injuries and deaths caused by ATVs shows how significant this public health epidemic has become. This tragic problem is in need of an aggressive and immediate solution.”

There have been four youth model ATV recalls in June and July. KYMCO, SunL , Arctic Cat, and Kawasaki have recalled over 13,000 units due to hazards that could lead to a loss in the riders control and result in serious injury or death to riders. In the past five years, there have been nearly 70 ATV recalls all together, indicating a need for a revised and improved safety standard.

Current voluntary ATV safety measures include age recommendations that advise consumers against riding some ATVs if under the age of 16, warning labels that communicate safety information and training opportunities for ATV purchasers. These current voluntary safety measures are insufficient and fail to protect our children. In fact, many children continue to ride adult ATVs with engine displacements of over 90cc. The American Academy of Pediatrics more strictly recommends that children 16 years old and younger not ride any ATV. Similarly, the Consumer Federation of America responds by saying that the use of adult ATVs by children under 16 years old should be banned.

When selecting an ATV consider the age, experience, maturity, height, and weight of the rider. Also, consider the ATVs type and features such as, power, supervisory control, speed and brake controls. Remember that ATVs of all sizes can be dangerous and consider the safety risks before allowing children to ride on one.

Until a revision in legislation occurs, it is important for consumers to remain informed on ATV recalls and to practice safe riding. Here are some important riding tips to follow:

  • Never place a child under the age of 16 on an adult-sized ATV
  • Supervise younger riders on youth model ATVs
  • When riding an ATV, always wear a helmet and safety gear
  • ATVs should not be ridden on paved roads
  • Know the terrain
  • Most ATVs are designed for only one rider, for those designed for two riders -children under the age of 12 should never ride tandem
  • Three-Wheeled ATVs are banned and should never be used

For more information and data on ATVs, please visit atvsafety.gov, CPSC, and Consumer Federation of America.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bill to Reduce the Circulation of Dangerous Toys

The circulation of dangerous toys must stop! This year already fifty-three toys have been recalled, totaling nearly 6.2 million units. Over a million toys have been pulled off store shelves for lead paint, and over 3 million for magnets. This increased rate of toy recalls shows that the Congressional action started last year is needed now more than ever.

Currently, a committee is working to hammer out the details included in the bills prepared by the House and the Senate. The objective is to incorporate points presented by both for a final version; however, there is concern that some key features will be ignored and the final version will be insufficient.

While the two versions are different, both the House and Senate introduce key points that should be incorporated for lasting change. The following outlines those provisions.
The version of H.R.4040 presented by the House includes several important provisions. First, their version states the need for an emergency provision that provides CPSC the authority to stop distribution based on hazards a product may pose. They also address conflicts of interest by banning industry-paid travel and requiring the inspection of propriety testing laboratories. If a product is deemed unsafe, their version holds manufacturers responsible for making the knowledge public via television and/or radio. Lastly, the House is considering a ban on a toxic chemical, phthalates.

Similarly, the Senate includes important features in their version of the product safety bill. They propose that voluntary toy safety testing become mandatory. Also, they add a
provision that establishes a database for the exchange of product and consumer related information and for reporting safety problems.

The increase of children’s product recalls as well as the hazards presented by some toys highlights the need for reform. The inclusion of all of these provisions is imperative in creating a strong bill that protects the lives of children. Children’s safety should be a priority! To relay this message and support a strong product safety bill, send a message to Congress through Moms Rising or Consumers Union.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bed/Toy chest recall reminder of toy chest safety, hazards of multiuse products

Bayside Furnishings has recalled two models of youth beds with attached toy chests after the strangulation death of a toddler when the toy chest lid came down on him, trapping him by the neck. The product was sold primarily at Costco.

Toy chests are supposed to meet voluntary standards that would prevent such a tragedy as well as other hazards such as suffocation in an air-tight or locked chest. Only the company and CPSC know if the product was even tested to that standard. If you have a hinged toy chest, make sure there are ventilation holes, no lock and a method to prevent the lid from shutting quickly. Better yet, remove the lid.

Parents should also check all multi-use furniture and juvenile products to be sure it is safe in all uses. This would include car seats that hook into strollers; cribs that convert to beds, or playyards that include bassinets and changing tables.

Other Recalled Multi-Use Juvenile Products:
Kolcraft Recalls Twelve Different Play Yards
GRACO "Pack n' Play" portable play yards with raised changing table
Cosco "Arriva" and "Turnabout” Infant Car Seat/Carrier Recalled
Cosco Voyager Car Seat/Stroller Recalled
Century Multi-Use Strollers
Lascal "Buggy Board" stroller attachment

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

320,000 Jardine Cribs Recalled

Jardine announced the recall today of 320,000 Berkley, Hilton, Positano, Spindle, and Windsor (certain model numbers only) cribs sold through Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us because of entrapment hazards from broken slats and spindles. The company has 42 reports of breakage, 4 entrapments and 2 injuries. Customers can return the crib to Jardine for a voucher for a new crib from Toys"R"Us or Babies"R"Us. More details here and here. Please let KID know if you have any questions or problems with the recall.

Summer safety tips from KID

KID announced a new summer safety fact sheet today. Have fun with all the summer activities, but take precautions to keep everyone safe.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Crib Mattress Recall: check your mattress fit

Simmons Kids has recalled 20,000 crib mattresses because they are smaller than the required 27 1/4 inch width required by law. This can cause a gap which can entrap a child. The company has one report of an entrapment; the parent was able to free the child.

The recall release gives specific information for measuring the mattress. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the side of the crib.

If you have this mattress, discontinue use immediately and contact Simmons Kids for a free replacement. There is information on the Simmon's website, or you can call 1-800-810-8611. If you are using another crib mattress that is too small, discontinue its use and report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

KID calls for federal ban on toxic toys

Kids In Danger joined with Illinois PIRG, the Breast Cancer Fund and other organizations and parents to call on Congress to ban toxic chemicals in toys. Joined by Betty, the 25 foot rubber duckie, the groups urged Representative Schakowsky and Rush to advocate for the strongest possible CPSC Reform Act, inlcluding a ban on phthlates. Sarah Chusid spoke for Kids In Danger. Read more here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

KID, Illinois PIRG, Breast Cancer Fund hold Duck Toss for Safety

Join Kids In Danger, Illinois PIRG and the Breast Cancer Fund in calling on Congress to ban toxic chemicals in children's products. Learn more here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Join KID at the Capitol and Stroll for Safety

Linda Ginzel’s son Danny was killed ten years ago this week in a dangerous portable crib. She and her husband founded Kids In Danger to protect other children from unsafe children’s products.

This week, Linda will join DC-area moms, dads, and toddlers, Members of Congress, consumer and public health advocates at a rally adjacent to the Capitol to urge Congress to protect children from unsafe toys and other children’s products as they enter the final stretch in passing a bill to reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Download Flyer Here.

WHEN: Thursday, May 15, 2008, 10:15 am

WHERE: Upper Senate Park (Constitution Avenue NW between New Jersey and Delaware Avenue

Monday, May 12, 2008

Danny Keysar died 10 years ago today in an unsafe crib

Today, May 12, marks the tenth anniversary of the death of sixteen-month-old Danny Keysar. Danny was killed when the portable crib he napped in at child care collapsed around his neck, strangling him. Danny's parents soon learned that the was the crib's fifth victim and to date, 17 children have died unnecessarily in these poorly designed and inadequately testing portable cribs. Learn more here.

To honor Danny and all other victims of unsafe children's products, take this opportunity to contact your US Representative and Senators and ask them to pass the strongest CPSC Reform Act possible to protect other children. Get more information here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kids In Danger marks tenth anniversary

Chicago - On Friday, April 18, 2008, Kids In Danger (KID), a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by improving children’s product safety, marks their tenth anniversary at the Annual Best Friend Award Night at Hugo's Frog Bar and Fish House in Chicago.

Senator Richard J Durbin is the recipient of this year’s KID’s Best Friend Award. “We are pleased to honor Senator Durbin,” said event co-chair Karen Bertoli. “Throughout his career he has been a champion for children and their safety. Most recently, with unprecedented attention to dangerous children’s products, he has demonstrated leadership in shaping a congressional response leading to landmark legislation containing important safeguards for our children.”

Sponsors of the event include Celsis Inc, Toys”R”Us, Corboy & Demetrio, Schwartz Cooper Chartered, Turano Bread Company, and Gibsons Restaurant Group.

“This is going to be a special night,” said Linda Ginzel, co-founder and President of Kids In Danger. “Taking in the ten years of hard work and seeing all of the people who’ve helped to get us here is a momentous feeling. With all the attention to children’s product safety in the past year, substantive improvements to children’s product safety oversight seem finally to be within our grasp. Of course, remembering Danny and all the other victims of recalled children’s products reminds us of just how far we have to go at the same time.”

Chicagoans Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar founded KID in 1998 after their sixteen-month-old son, Danny, died in a recalled portable crib. KID’s mission is to promote the development of safer children’s products, advocate for children and educate the public about dangerous juvenile products. All proceeds directly benefit the work of Kids In Danger. More information is available at KidsInDanger.org.

Monday, March 17, 2008

CPSC Nursery Products Report raises troubling issues

This month, CPSC released a report on injuries and deaths from nursery products -- cribs, strollers, high chairs and similar products. The injury data is from 2006 and the death statistics are from earlier -- 2002-2004. Even with the delay in releasing the data, it raises troubling issues.

In 2006, 66,400 children under age 5 were rushed to emergency rooms due to injuries from nursery products. Falls were the most common cause of injury requiring emergency room treatment, and cribs, carriers and strollers were involved in the most injuries. In general, this information undercounts injuries since it only includes those involving emergency rooms, not urgent care centers, doctor's offices or those treated at home.

From 2002 to 2004, the report shows 241 deaths of children under 5 involving nursery products, an average of more than 80 a year. The products most likely to be involved in a death are those associated with sleeping -- cribs, bassinets, play yards or bathing -- bath seats and tubs. CPSC reports that 47% of the crib deaths involved soft bedding and 25% involved cribs with broken or missing hardware or parts. Given the large recall of 1 million Simplicity cribs due to breaking hardware, KID is afraid this number will only grow.

Also troubling were the deaths in play yards and portable cribs. Some seemed to repeat the same pattern as the hazardous side rails in the Playskool Travel-Lite which led to 17 deaths. But with CPSC reporting that the report did not involve any recalled products, we are left wondering if products still on the market have the same deadly flaw.

What can parents and caregivers do to prevent injuries in these products? KID has more information at our website on different product hazards, but here are a few tips:
  • To prevent falls, keep babies in products low to the ground and always use restraint systems in high chairs, strollers, carriers, changing tables or swings.
  • Keep sleeping environments clear of all soft bedding, including bumper pads, sleep positioners, comforters, pillows and stuffed animals. Never use adult bedding in a crib or other infant sleep environment.
  • Check your crib and other products carefully when first assembled and regularly during use. Do not use a product with broken or missing hardware.
  • Most importantly, report products that break or appear unsafe to both the manufacturer and CPSC. Without required safety testing in place, parents have to be vigilant to root out unsafe products.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

After debating the underlying bill and amendments all week, the Senate this afternoon passed the CPSC Reform Act of 2008 -- an amazing bill that introduces many of the changes KID has been supporting for the children's product safety system. It finally passed 79-13. Included in both the House and Senate versions of the bill is language from Representative Schakowsky's Infant and Toddler Durable Product Safety Act, which will require CPSC to formulate mandatory safety standards for cribs, strollers, high chairs and other infant and toddler products.

Kids In Danger was founded 10 years ago after the death of Danny Keysar in an untested, unsafe portable crib. We applaud the Senate for passing this bill which will fix the flawed children’s product safety system that led to Danny’s death -- it will save lives.

While the Senate and House bill will now have to be reconciled in conference, both contain important safeguards for children. In addition to the infant and toddler product standards, both increase funding for CPSC, reinstate the full five commissioners, ban lead in children's products and more.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On February 12, Kids In Danger released with U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, 2007: The Year of the Recall, an annual study of recalled children’s products. In addition to Schakowsky, KID was joined by Cara Smith of the Illinois Attorney General’s office and Brian Imus of Illinois PIRG.

The report found that children’s product recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) jumped in 2007. There were 231 recalls accounting for more than 46 million items, including twelve recalls that involved one million or more units.

“These products together caused at least 657 injuries and 6 deaths,” stated Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. “And those incidents include only those already reported at the time of the recall. More needs to be done to protect children from these hazards.”

KID recommends:

  • Congress must act quickly to enact pending legislation that would increase funding for CPSC and strengthen their ability to protect children.

  • States should enact legislation to ban the sale of recalled products or their use in childcare facilities. Only eight states, including Illinois, now have a Children’s Product Safety Act.

  • Lead should be banned in any children’s products. Manufacturers must certify that their products and product components are lead-free. KID supports the American Academy of Pediatrics call for lead levels of no more than 40 parts per million, as compared to the currently allowable rate of 600 parts per million.

    “The report released by Kids in Danger today underscores the need to overhaul our nation's consumer protection system,” said U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “Under the current system, too many dangerous products are slipping through the cracks and making their way into our homes. Fortunately, the 110th Congress has made a serious commitment to eliminate dangerous products, modernize product safety standards and improve the effectiveness of recalls. The CPSC reauthorization bill, which recently passed the House, would save lives by getting dangerous products off store shelves and out of our homes. I urge my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass the strongest CPSC reauthorization bill possible.”

    “In Illinois, by partnering with advocacy groups like Kids in Danger, we have taken the protection of children into our own hands and are working to inform caregivers of these dangers, said Attorney General Madigan. “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and product manufacturers must take greater steps to ensure that consumers who have these dangerous products in their homes become aware of recall and know how to respond and that retailers have sufficient information to inform their customers.”

    KID recommends that parents check the products used with their children at www.cpsc.gov and sign up for safety updates at www.KidsinDanger.org.

    “The release of today’s report highlights that the agency we rely on to protect our children from unsafe products is failing to do its job,” said Brian Imus, State Director with the consumer advocacy group Illinois PIRG. “We need to stop hazardous toys from ending up on store shelves, rather than rely on woefully ineffective, after-the-fact recalls to remove them from our homes.”

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    RC2 settles class action lawsuit from tainted Thomas trains

    RC2 announced a settlement of $30 million for its lead tainted trains and accessories. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the settlement includes new quality controls to prevent future infractions, $2 million to plaintiffs' attorneys and $5,000 to five plaintiffs, as well as a $100,000 donation to a nonprofit organization. The bulk of the settlement seems to cover refunds or replacement toys along with a 'bonus' toy. The corrective action plan for the recall included only replacements and bonus toys; offering a full refund is new to the settlement. Kids In Danger believes that refunds should always be an option for children's product recalls.

    Wednesday, January 2, 2008

    2008: A year of safer children's products?

    Lead-tainted toy trains, drug-laced craft sets, collapsing cribs -- it is no wonder the nation turned its attention to children's product safety in 2007. Congress held hearings and drafted legislation. The 2008 spending bill recently signed by President Bush will increase funding to the beleaguered US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Legislation pending in the House and Senate will also require pre-market testing of children's products and toys and provide greater information to the public on safety hazards. But there is still much to be done -- beginning with the passage of the most comprehensive bill possible in Congress.

    Start the year off right for safety and take these actions:

    • Ask the US Senate to pass a strong consumer protection law for toys and children's products.
    • Check your products at home to make sure you aren't using recalled products with your children. In particular, make sure your child's crib isn't one of the 13 recalls in the past three years, accounting for more than 1.1 million cribs -some subject to two or three recalls.
    • Sign up for monthly email alerts from Kids In Danger and for email notification from CPSC when a product is recalled.

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